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Carbone’s veal parm, garnished with fresh mozzarella and basil, sits on a white plate
Carbone’s veal parm
Photo by Bill Addison

17 Truly Great Parms to Try in NYC

Where to get the saucy, cheese-blanketed Italian-American classic

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Carbone’s veal parm
| Photo by Bill Addison

The parm is a reliably filling thing of beauty, be it a colossal chicken parm that spills over the edges of a plate or a neatly-stacked rectangle of eggplant parm with double-digit layers. It’s got Neapolitan roots (in lightly-fried, sparingly cheese-trimmed form, and called parmigiana), but it really hit its stride as a cornerstone of the Italian-American red-sauce repertoire in the mid-20th century under the moniker of chicken or veal parmesan, not parmigiana. The difference? More cheese and a far heavier, thicker fried crust.

A wide spectrum of parms can be found around the city, from somewhat lighter iterations (like a baked riff on the classic) to handheld versions, encased in hero rolls. Ahead, 17 worthwhile parm pitstops in NYC.

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically, from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Tra Di Noi

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A classic Italian-American joint amid Arthur Avenue’s thicket of restaurants, red and white checkered tablecloths and all. Tra di Noi serves up a slightly lighter riff on eggplant parmigiano, with zucchini in the mix, and an off-menu chicken parm that’s generously proportioned. The rest of the entrees, which include veal scallopine, roasted lamb shank, and lasagna bolognese, are similarly robust in size.

Tra Di Noi Photo via Tra di Noi/Yelp

Zero Otto Nove

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This Arthur Avenue spot specializes in Southern Italian cuisine, specifically from Salerno, a port city nestled below the Amalfi Coast. The Neapolitan pizzas are the main attraction, flanked by a slew of homemade pastas and a nice of mix of seafood and meat entrees — and an eggplant parm appetizer option. The place sources from a local institution down the block, Casa de Mozzarella. There’s also a Flatiron offshoot, Trattoria Zero Otto Nove, housed in spacious digs (like the Bronx original).

Zero Otto Nove Zero Otto Nove/Facebook

The name says it all: myriad forms of parm get top billing at this popular Major Food Group (Carbone, The Grill) chainlet, which also has locations in Nolita (the O.G. outpost), Battery Park City, and inside the Barclays Center. Any of the parms are an obvious order, particularly the flavorful, surprisingly fluffy meatball iteration and the 10-layer eggplant parm. The sesame seeded hero yields a bigger, slightly superior sandwich than the roll does. Bonus: the rigatoni fra diavola here, bathed in a pink cream sauce with chili flakes, is remarkably similar to the celebrated spicy rigatone ala vodka served at sister restaurant Carbone — and a fraction of the price.

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

Quality Italian

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Here, the parm is certainly a novelty of sorts, and the main reason some diners head to this huge second-floor spot. It’s actually served as a pizza-parm hybrid as a sprawling, round disk of chicken cutlet that fills an entire pizza rack, with classic pizza spice shakers housed on the rack’s bottom shelf. There’s a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and pecorino cheeses and sauce piled atop the crispy, breadcrumb-packed cutlet with a ring of sauceless, cheese-free cutlet resembling crust.

Pietros

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This Midtown East parm go-to serves a massive version of the dish. Here, the large parm gets fried in a skillet and then oven-broiled with a blanket of sauce plus mozzarella and parm cheeses. The outcome? A blistered, gooey masterpiece, accented with a couple basil leaves, that fills up an entire plate. It’s definitely a shareable parm situation.

Pietro’s Photo via Pietro’s/Yelp

Gaetana's

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This charming West Village red-sauce Italian is a welcoming neighborhood gem, housed in a great corner space on Christopher Street where the doors are often flung open in warmer weather. Regardless of the season, the chicken parmigiana is a faithfully executed take on the classic, a generous portion swimming in tomato sauce, coated with fresh mozz, and served with a steak knife for cutting through the thick cutlet. Frank Sinatra is often on the soundtrack, and if he’s not, he’s featured prominently behind the bar, via framed portraits and other ephemera hung on brick walls.

Dante NYC

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For a lighter take on the classic, head to this MacDougal Street spot, housed in a hallowed Italian coffee shop dating back to 1915, Caffe Dante. Here, the parm is entirely redone with garlic, oregano, and white wine-marinated chicken, which gets baked (not fried). It’s then layered over sauteed Tuscan kale in a skillet, baked under a modest blanket of parmesan and provolone, and topped with sourdough breadcrumbs. Bonus: It can be ordered sans breadcrumbs for a rare gluten-free take on the dish.

Dante Photo: Dante

Carbone

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The veal parm is a popular order at this expense-account-necessitating, opulent red-sauce fantasy from Major Food Group. The sprawling cutlet nearly spills off the edges of the plate and arrives bone-in, with big pools of mozz and a heavy sprinkling of torn basil leaves. At $67, it’s an extremely expensive, contentious take on the dish, but the place is certainly an experience.

Carbone’s veal parm, garnished with fresh mozzarella and basil, sits on a white plate Photo by Bill Addison

Emilio's Ballato

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At this popular, boisterous Houston Street favorite with a strong throwback feel, the chicken parm is executed faithfully. The cutlet is on the thinner side and extra-crispy, topped with tangy tomato sauce (and served with more on the side) plus buffalo mozzarella and scattered with basil. Bonus: It’s also perhaps the parm most likely to involve a celebrity sighting.

Rubirosa

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This popular place is newer than its Little Italy counterparts, but far superior than the majority, thanks to some serious pizza-slinging cred: Co-founder Joe Pappalardo is half of popular pizzeria Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island. While the pies may hog the spotlight, the chicken parm is also a worthy order, covered in housemade mozzarella and parmesan. It’s available as either a lunchtime hero sandwich or as an entree, accompanied by spaghetti. And unlike many parms, Rubirosa’s entree version can be substituted with gluten-free breadcrumbs and pasta. Also on offer for lunch or brunch, there’s a meatball parmesan hero as well as an eggplant parmigiano panini, finished with pecorino.

A dining room seen at a tilt with people standing and seated and laughing. Daniel Krieger

Bamonte's

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A beloved O.G. red sauce institution, Bamonte’s has been kicking it for over a century, with an aesthetic that’s been untouched for over 60 years, plus ample mob lore. Nowadays, there’s a mix of loyal old-timers and recent Williamsburg transplants decades younger. Chicken, veal, and eggplant parm are on the menu, as well as a far rarer breed of the sauce-soaked, cheese-heaped dish: shrimp parmigiana. It’s definitely a sign of this restaurant’s Italian-American identity, since mixing seafood and cheese is avoided in traditional Italian cooking.

Bamonte's Photo: Bamonte’s

Harry's Italian

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This sleek Italian spot is long on Queens pizza cred: founders Peter and Harry Poulakakos opened up shop with the team from Nick’s Pizza, a beloved Forest Hills pie joint. Here, the chicken and veal parms are available in single and family portions, and it’s a respectable, faithful take on on the classic. The quality of the chicken is especially topnotch and very tender, and the single entree portion is filling without being obscenely huge. There’s also a location farther east on Gold Street, and a compact to-go offshoot at Rockefeller Center.

Harry’s Italian Photo via Harry’s Italian/Facebook

It’s hard to miss the delightfully old-school neon signage for Sam’s, a Court Street classic that’s the oldest restaurant in Cobble Hill, founded in 1930. Pile into a red leather booth for a solid plate of eggplant parm, a veal version that’s curiously flanked by fries instead of pasta (though spaghetti can be swapped), and a chicken iteration with a side of spaghetti, ziti, or fries. All three versions are served in very affordable hero form, too. Like at Bamonte’s, shrimp parm is also on the menu.

Vinny's of Carroll Gardens

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This Smith Street joint has only been around since the late ‘90s, serving up huge portions in a casual, diner-like setting. Order that parm, be it chicken, veal, or eggplant, on a plate with a side of pasta, which isn’t confined to a simple spaghetti marinara (opt for, say, penne alla vodka) or rice or vegetable. Or, go for a sandwich version, served on either a hero or roll.

Defonte's Sandwich Shop

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Head to this nearly century-old Red Hook sandwich shop for an affordable, massive, top-notch parm in handheld form. Some of the choices are even parm-cold cut hybrid creations, like one sandwich that combines eggplant parm with ham and provolone. On its own, the eggplant parm nabs a spot, somewhat comically, in the “Health Sandwiches” section of the menu.

Frankies 457 Spuntino

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This new-school Carroll Gardens Italian favorite offers meatball parm or eggplant marinara with pecorino as sandwiches, served on Sullivan Street pizza bianca bread. That eggplant dish, which is a somewhat lighter take on a full-on eggplant parm, is available sans bread as an entree, too. There’s also a West Village offshoot, Frankies 570 Sputino, which serves both meatball parm and eggplant marinara.

Frankies 457 Foursquare

Don Peppe

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At this old-school Ozone Park establishment, choose from veal or eggplant parm, sauced with an exemplary marinara sauce, per a Times review. The eggplant parm is served as a more horizontal version than at most spots, splayed out across the plate with multiple rounds of the fried nightshade, instead of in one tall, tidy stack. The cash-only spot is quite close to JFK, making it a really satiating pre- or post-flight pitstop.

Don Peppe
 
Don Peppe/Yelp

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Tra Di Noi

Tra Di Noi Photo via Tra di Noi/Yelp

A classic Italian-American joint amid Arthur Avenue’s thicket of restaurants, red and white checkered tablecloths and all. Tra di Noi serves up a slightly lighter riff on eggplant parmigiano, with zucchini in the mix, and an off-menu chicken parm that’s generously proportioned. The rest of the entrees, which include veal scallopine, roasted lamb shank, and lasagna bolognese, are similarly robust in size.

Tra Di Noi Photo via Tra di Noi/Yelp

Zero Otto Nove

Zero Otto Nove Zero Otto Nove/Facebook

This Arthur Avenue spot specializes in Southern Italian cuisine, specifically from Salerno, a port city nestled below the Amalfi Coast. The Neapolitan pizzas are the main attraction, flanked by a slew of homemade pastas and a nice of mix of seafood and meat entrees — and an eggplant parm appetizer option. The place sources from a local institution down the block, Casa de Mozzarella. There’s also a Flatiron offshoot, Trattoria Zero Otto Nove, housed in spacious digs (like the Bronx original).

Zero Otto Nove Zero Otto Nove/Facebook

Parm

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

The name says it all: myriad forms of parm get top billing at this popular Major Food Group (Carbone, The Grill) chainlet, which also has locations in Nolita (the O.G. outpost), Battery Park City, and inside the Barclays Center. Any of the parms are an obvious order, particularly the flavorful, surprisingly fluffy meatball iteration and the 10-layer eggplant parm. The sesame seeded hero yields a bigger, slightly superior sandwich than the roll does. Bonus: the rigatoni fra diavola here, bathed in a pink cream sauce with chili flakes, is remarkably similar to the celebrated spicy rigatone ala vodka served at sister restaurant Carbone — and a fraction of the price.

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

Quality Italian

Here, the parm is certainly a novelty of sorts, and the main reason some diners head to this huge second-floor spot. It’s actually served as a pizza-parm hybrid as a sprawling, round disk of chicken cutlet that fills an entire pizza rack, with classic pizza spice shakers housed on the rack’s bottom shelf. There’s a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and pecorino cheeses and sauce piled atop the crispy, breadcrumb-packed cutlet with a ring of sauceless, cheese-free cutlet resembling crust.

Pietros

Pietro’s Photo via Pietro’s/Yelp

This Midtown East parm go-to serves a massive version of the dish. Here, the large parm gets fried in a skillet and then oven-broiled with a blanket of sauce plus mozzarella and parm cheeses. The outcome? A blistered, gooey masterpiece, accented with a couple basil leaves, that fills up an entire plate. It’s definitely a shareable parm situation.

Pietro’s Photo via Pietro’s/Yelp

Gaetana's

This charming West Village red-sauce Italian is a welcoming neighborhood gem, housed in a great corner space on Christopher Street where the doors are often flung open in warmer weather. Regardless of the season, the chicken parmigiana is a faithfully executed take on the classic, a generous portion swimming in tomato sauce, coated with fresh mozz, and served with a steak knife for cutting through the thick cutlet. Frank Sinatra is often on the soundtrack, and if he’s not, he’s featured prominently behind the bar, via framed portraits and other ephemera hung on brick walls.

Dante NYC

Dante Photo: Dante

For a lighter take on the classic, head to this MacDougal Street spot, housed in a hallowed Italian coffee shop dating back to 1915, Caffe Dante. Here, the parm is entirely redone with garlic, oregano, and white wine-marinated chicken, which gets baked (not fried). It’s then layered over sauteed Tuscan kale in a skillet, baked under a modest blanket of parmesan and provolone, and topped with sourdough breadcrumbs. Bonus: It can be ordered sans breadcrumbs for a rare gluten-free take on the dish.

Dante Photo: Dante

Carbone

Carbone’s veal parm, garnished with fresh mozzarella and basil, sits on a white plate Photo by Bill Addison

The veal parm is a popular order at this expense-account-necessitating, opulent red-sauce fantasy from Major Food Group. The sprawling cutlet nearly spills off the edges of the plate and arrives bone-in, with big pools of mozz and a heavy sprinkling of torn basil leaves. At $67, it’s an extremely expensive, contentious take on the dish, but the place is certainly an experience.

Carbone’s veal parm, garnished with fresh mozzarella and basil, sits on a white plate Photo by Bill Addison

Emilio's Ballato

At this popular, boisterous Houston Street favorite with a strong throwback feel, the chicken parm is executed faithfully. The cutlet is on the thinner side and extra-crispy, topped with tangy tomato sauce (and served with more on the side) plus buffalo mozzarella and scattered with basil. Bonus: It’s also perhaps the parm most likely to involve a celebrity sighting.

Rubirosa

A dining room seen at a tilt with people standing and seated and laughing. Daniel Krieger

This popular place is newer than its Little Italy counterparts, but far superior than the majority, thanks to some serious pizza-slinging cred: Co-founder Joe Pappalardo is half of popular pizzeria Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island. While the pies may hog the spotlight, the chicken parm is also a worthy order, covered in housemade mozzarella and parmesan. It’s available as either a lunchtime hero sandwich or as an entree, accompanied by spaghetti. And unlike many parms, Rubirosa’s entree version can be substituted with gluten-free breadcrumbs and pasta. Also on offer for lunch or brunch, there’s a meatball parmesan hero as well as an eggplant parmigiano panini, finished with pecorino.

A dining room seen at a tilt with people standing and seated and laughing. Daniel Krieger

Bamonte's

Bamonte's Photo: Bamonte’s

A beloved O.G. red sauce institution, Bamonte’s has been kicking it for over a century, with an aesthetic that’s been untouched for over 60 years, plus ample mob lore. Nowadays, there’s a mix of loyal old-timers and recent Williamsburg transplants decades younger. Chicken, veal, and eggplant parm are on the menu, as well as a far rarer breed of the sauce-soaked, cheese-heaped dish: shrimp parmigiana. It’s definitely a sign of this restaurant’s Italian-American identity, since mixing seafood and cheese is avoided in traditional Italian cooking.

Bamonte's Photo: Bamonte’s

Harry's Italian

Harry’s Italian Photo via Harry’s Italian/Facebook

This sleek Italian spot is long on Queens pizza cred: founders Peter and Harry Poulakakos opened up shop with the team from Nick’s Pizza, a beloved Forest Hills pie joint. Here, the chicken and veal parms are available in single and family portions, and it’s a respectable, faithful take on on the classic. The quality of the chicken is especially topnotch and very tender, and the single entree portion is filling without being obscenely huge. There’s also a location farther east on Gold Street, and a compact to-go offshoot at Rockefeller Center.

Harry’s Italian Photo via Harry’s Italian/Facebook

Sam's

It’s hard to miss the delightfully old-school neon signage for Sam’s, a Court Street classic that’s the oldest restaurant in Cobble Hill, founded in 1930. Pile into a red leather booth for a solid plate of eggplant parm, a veal version that’s curiously flanked by fries instead of pasta (though spaghetti can be swapped), and a chicken iteration with a side of spaghetti, ziti, or fries. All three versions are served in very affordable hero form, too. Like at Bamonte’s, shrimp parm is also on the menu.

Vinny's of Carroll Gardens

This Smith Street joint has only been around since the late ‘90s, serving up huge portions in a casual, diner-like setting. Order that parm, be it chicken, veal, or eggplant, on a plate with a side of pasta, which isn’t confined to a simple spaghetti marinara (opt for, say, penne alla vodka) or rice or vegetable. Or, go for a sandwich version, served on either a hero or roll.

Defonte's Sandwich Shop